The Coverup Continues

Last week, after four years of fighting for transparency, Conservatives were successful in forcing Justin Trudeau to release documents related to the breach of the top-secret National Microbiology Lab (NML) in Winnipeg by Chinese spies—documents he has fought for years to keep secret from Canadians.

In July of 2019, Dr. Xiangguo Qiu and her husband Dr. Keding Cheng were escorted from the lab.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) characterized their removal as an “administrative” matter related to a shipment of samples from the Winnipeg Lab to the new level 4 lab in Wuhan China (the Wuhan Institute of Virology or WIV).

Multiple investigations have been undertaken by journalists, parliamentary committees, and my own office, to bring what happened to light. Now, what many suspected, then, has been shown to be true. China had a network of spies working in our most secure lab and Justin Trudeau knew about it and covered it up.

This coverup would eventually see the head of PHAC found in contempt of parliament and the Trudeau Government sue parliament to keep Beijing’s secrets. 

It began in September of 2018 when PHAC was informed that Qiu was listed as the inventor of a Chinese patent that contained scientific information belonging to Canada.

In October “student researchers” under Cheng’s supervision were reported to have smuggled out samples from the lab on at least two occasions. 

Qiu and Cheng had a never-ending stream of “students” coming from China to work with them in the lab.

Qiu was also making regular rips to China. Some to Wuhan where she helped oversee the new WIV as well as trips to Beijing.

Finally, Qiu was behind a shipment of deadly Ebola and Henipah viruses to Wuhan in March of 2018 (this after first attempting to send it to an, as yet, unknown address in Beijing). 

PHAC hired an outside security firm to investigate in December of 2018. A month later there was another incident when Cheng, again, broke security protocols trying to access the lab with somebody else’s security code.

The initial investigation found Cheng had indeed smuggled samples from the lab and sent them to China in a box marked “kitchen utensils”. The investigation confirmed Qiu had violated intellectual property rights on at least two occasions and that she, herself, had sent smuggled samples to Beijing and to Thomas Jefferson University (TJU).  TJU is a private post-secondary school in Philadelphia, heavily subsidized with dollars from Beijing’s Tsinghua Military University, whose alumni include current Chinese President Xi Jianping.

Investigators also discovered Chinese “students” were using lab staff IDs to download information and send it to their personal email accounts, and from there to Beijing.

By this time CSIS (Canada’s spy agency) had alerted Ottawa of the concerns at the lab, and in July of 2019, Qiu and Cheng were placed on administrative leave.

PHAC then began their internal investigation.

In April, June, and July, CSIS sent secret security assessments to PHAC, outlining Qiu’s collaborations with the Academy of Military Medical Sciences in Beijing—a front for the Chinese military’s bioweapons program. These collaborators included regular work with Major General Chen Wei, Beijing’s top military epidemiologist and virologist. Qiu’s work was heavily subsidized by Beijing and her “students” came from at least four Chinese facilities known for their role in developing bioweapons (China’s Institute of Military Veterinary/Academy of Military Medical Sciences, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Institute of Microbiology, and, of course, the Wuhan Institute of Virology). PHAC knew all of this, and nobody batted and eye.

CSIS also believed Qiu and Cheng had lied consistently during their questioning and that their loyalty to Canada was seriously in question.

Six months later, in January of 2021, they were officially terminated—shortly thereafter, both disappeared.

The scientists are long gone, and the documents shed new light on what happened, but many questions remain.

Who authorized these scientists to work in our secure lab in the first place, and bring in countless Chinese “students” without proper background checks?

Who authorized research and collaborations funded by Beijing to be performed in our secure lab?

Why didn’t the initial allegations trigger an immediate security lockdown and investigation?

Why did PHAC’s internal security fail so spectacularly? Particularly given a previous breach of the NML by another Chinese researcher in 2009?

Why did it take 18 months? Why were they not immediately arrested for espionage?

When did the Prime Minister know, and why has he worked so hard to cover up for Beijing?

Why has the head of PHAC (who was held in contempt of Parliament for his refusal to provide documents) not been fired—he remains a government employee.

Why, when asked about the lab breach, did Minister Hajdu (responsible for PHAC) immediately respond with: “…there was no connection to the situation with COVID-19”?

Nobody asked her about a COVID connection.  

That said, one may yet exist.

Most intelligence agencies now agree that COVID came from the Wuhan lab.

The shipment Dr. Qiu sent to the Wuhan lab in March of 2018 included vials of deadly Henipah virus.

Stanford University Scientists studying the earliest samples of coronavirus sent from Beijing via the WHO discovered modified Henipah virus in those samples. Those findings were later replicated by Canadian experts who stated the genetic modification was likely for the purpose of vaccine development (well beyond the scope of the “stock virus culturing” Qiu and the WIV claimed was its purpose). Dr. Qiu was a vaccine expert. She did extensive collaboration with the PLA’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences who developed China’s coronavirus vaccine—the same vaccine Justin Trudeau was solely focussed on getting.

It all sounds like something out a spy novel, but it happened here, in Canada, and, to date, nobody has been held responsible.

And the coverup continues.

As of Monday, the Liberals and NDP voted to obstruct further investigation into the lab breach.

All of this begs the question: Is there more to the story? What else is Justin Trudeau hiding?